The Resident Acting Company will offer staged reading of "The Belle's Strategem" by Hannah Cowley October 29 at The Players Club

Oct 29, 2018 at 7:00 PM
"The Belle’s Stratagem" By Hannah Cowley
The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South
Presented by The Resident Acting Company
6:00 PM Cash Bar, 7:00 PM Reading
This reading is not open for review but news and feature coverage are invited.

NEW YORK, October 12 -- The Resident Acting Company (, a new troupe drawn from the performing ensemble of The Pearl Theatre Company, will present a staged reading of "The Belle's Strategem" by Hannah Cowley on Monday, October 29 at 7:00 PM at The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South. The reading is the second installment of the troupe's "The Language Series," which is devoted to plays that delve into the use of words to lie, deceive, manipulate, conquer, tell the truth, work out the meaning of life and even to find love.

The three-part series is being entirely presented at The Players Club. It began September 24 with a reading of Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell" and will conclude November 19 with Pirandello's "It Is So (If You Think So)." All three plays explore questions of fake or real, true or false and truth that isn’t truth. Through the lens of these classics and their approach to language, the company aims to help us sharpen our perception of the rumors, reports, misleading statements and alternative facts we now experience every day.

"The Belle's Strategem" was initially presented in 1780 by David Garrick at The Drury Lane and it was a smash success. In the play, Letitia Hardy is engaged to marry the handsome and wealthy Doricourt, but there is one problem: he has agreed to marry her but seems totally uninterested in her. She loves him and is determined to get him to feel the same. So she endeavors to get him to hate her as she believes it will be easier to flip hate into love rather than indifference into love. With a cast of wild characters--including Flutter, Miss Ogle and Sir George Touchwood--we galivant through the amusing misadventures of these anti lovers until they reach their final realizations in a “crazy” final scene.

The cast is R.J. Foster as Doricourt, Dominic Cuskern as Hardy, Dan Daily as George Touchwood, Bradford Cover as Villers, Carol Schultz as Mrs. Racket, Rachel Botchan as Lady Frances and Robin Leslie Brown as Miss Ogle, Kitty Willis and Hannah Cowley. The reading is directed by the ensemble.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at Cash bar begins at 6:00 PM and the reading starts at 7:00 PM.

The Resident Acting Company (RAC), an actor-led ensemble, contains former members of the Pearl Theatre Company's resident troupe. The roster includes Jolly Abraham, Rachel Botchan, Robin Leslie Brown, Bradford Cover, Dominic Cuskern, R.J. Foster, Dan Daily, Chris Mixon and Carol Schultz. Last Spring, the company launched itself with "The Power Series," a series of four readings at The Players Club that included "The Three Sisters," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Electra" by Sophocles and "The Big Night" (1928) by Dawn Powell. All four plays explored the concept of power and how it relates to issues women have faced in the past and today.

RAC is a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas. In the past year, it has been assembling a Board of Directors and writing by-laws. Goals include a fundraising event in October and a full production this Spring. While RAC is a new producing organization, it aims to practice The Pearl Theatre Company's artistic tradition of addressing the "big classics" with a resident ensemble.

The Pearl was founded in 1984 by Shepard Sobel. Performing classical repertory with a resident acting company, its troupe of actors trained together and performed show after show together, forming a common theatrical aesthetic and artistic bond. The Pearl began in a storefront in Chelsea and moved to Theatre 80 St. Marks, City Center and finally, to a new theater at 555 West 42nd Street. Operating for 33 years as an Off-Broadway troupe, it earned Drama League awards, a Drama Desk for “nurturing a stalwart company of actors…" and several Obies. Shepard Sobel was succeeded as Artistic Director by J.R. Sullivan in 2009 and Hal Brooks in 2014. The company closed after 33 seasons in June, 2017.

Bradford Cover, Artistic Director of the new troupe, was a member of the Pearl's Resident Acting Company. He describes the Pearl Theatre's programming model as a broader range of classics than is done by any other Equity classical company in NYC including the New York Shakespeare Festival. Besides Elizabethan Drama, genres include Restoration Comedy, Jacobean Comedy and Tragedy, Commedia dell' Arte and the entire classical canon from Sophocles to Tennessee Willliams and Eugene O'Neill. Mixed into this is "a new play every so often that interacts with the classical repertory in some profound way."

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This reading is not open for review but news and feature coverage are invited.